In the news where I live, a young man was arrested after sending two baggies of cocaine through a drive-up bank vacuum tube.
My wife and I shook our heads, laughed, and agreed on this:
“It’s refreshing to hear of bizarre behavior by someone who’s not president of the United States.”
Imagine what we’ve come to laugh off – a president who has attempted to slide all sorts of dangerous stuff right up our tube.
First he told us not to concern our pretty little heads about COVID-19. Then he told us, as we grew concerned, that tests would be like spring flowers, one for every man and maiden.
Then he started offering remedies that weren’t, indeed, that can kill and have.
I hesitate to say he capped things with his injection-of-disinfectant musing on live TV, but come on. The man is a bottomless well of abomination.
Yes, this commentary started out in a madcap, “What ya gonna do?” tone, but things are so very serious. More people have died from this disease than did in Vietnam. More die as these words come from my fingers. Our president dismissed this reality at first.
Amid all of this, as states and employers face life-or-death decisions, the federal government under Trump is a blinking bystander.
This speaks to something more serious than the fact that Trump has made himself a running joke. It’s the fact that his policies are not serving the country on a broad scale, or the world on an international scale. And those in charge of his party apparently second those policies.
Hands, now: As we face an actual health crisis that calls for massive spending, who wishes Congress and Trump had refrained from whimsical tax cuts adding a trillion dollars to the federal deficit?
Hands, now: As we face a global pandemic, who wishes the United States were in its traditional role leading the nations of the world?
Instead, it’s, “America first — and second, up yours.”
The sobering extent of what we’ve reaped with a charlatan and xenophobe in our highest office was remarked upon in scathing ways in a New York Times article in which foreign observers commented on America’s changed world standing under Trump.
“This is the first global crisis in more than a century where no one is even looking to the United States for leadership,” writes the Times’ Katrin Bennold.
“There is special irony,” she continues. “Germany and South Korea, both products of enlightened postwar U.S. leadership, have become potent examples of best practices in the coronavirus crisis.”
Dominique Moisi, a senior adviser at the Paris Institute Montaigne, pulled no punches:
“America has not done badly; it has done spectacularly badly.”
Observing what has become of the global leader America has been, Oxford European historian Timothy Garton Ash remarked, “I feel a desperate sadness.”
It’s indicative of the Trump mindset that the most decisive things he’s done in the crisis have been trademarks of his “up yours” mentality: Circle the wagons relative to the White House’s pitiable role versus states’ struggles, and close the borders.
Criticize the media as liars and fakes, and urge others to do the same. State "facts" not in evidence. Divide the country even more through name-calling, pitting states and even parts of the country against each other.
Like intravenous bleach, Trumpism is a disastrous remedy for any national problem not conjured by the religious right and outright racists.
Trump talked of strength on the campaign trail. We see a weak presidency now exactly when we need a strong one. He preached isolation. We find ourselves in a situation now that demands ironclad global coalitions.
The world will be a better place, the nation sounder, when we can all laugh off the remedy that was Trumpism instead of crying over the reality that is Trump's weakened once-United States.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.